Ancient Tale: Disrespectful Behavior Was Punished by the ‘Dragon’

Sun temple, a Buddhist shrine in the Himalayas.

In ancient times, people would go to a certain temple to pray for rain and it was really efficacious. (Image: Satori13 via Dreamstime)

In ancient times, the Dragon King Shrine, next to the pond of the Yuquan Temple in Henan Province, China, was said to be a magically efficacious place for villagers to pray for rain. Once, when the Judicial Officer of Weishi County visited, he randomly picked up a broken tile by the pool and casually threw it at an object in the pond. Soon, the surrounding area became misty. This was followed by thunder, lightning, and torrential rain, and the daytime sky was as dark as dusk.

The Dragon King Shrine

During the late Tang Dynasty, Shen Wenwei, the Judicial Officer of Weishi County, shared a unique and thrilling experience with others. Once, Shen visited the Yuquan Temple for business. There was a pond next to the Yuquan Temple. The Dragon King Shrine was to the north of the pool. At the time, it was midsummer. Many villagers came to pray for rain during the severe drought, and they all got effective responses.

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Portrait of an Asian dragon swimming in the sea next to a little wooden boat.
The Dragon King Shrine was to the north of the pool at Yuquan Temple. (Image: Ragsac19 via Dreamstime)

Shen also came to the pond. When he bent over to examine it, suddenly, he saw something like a withered, broken flower with an extended leaf the size of an umbrella in the pond.

At that time, Shen picked up a broken tile and was going to throw it at the object, but a monk who saw what he was doing hurriedly stopped him, shouting loudly: “Don’t do such a thing; otherwise, it will irritate the wind and thunder spirits!” However, Shen ignored his warning, not realizing the seriousness of the situation.

Disrespectful behavior irritated the temple’s ‘dragon’

Instantly, a thick white mist began to rise from below the pond surface and quickly spread to the foot of the mountain, which drastically lowered the surrounding visibility.

Yuquan Temple was located on a mountain. To reach it, one needed to follow an ascending path on the stone-paved road that circled around seven times. Adding abruptly heavy rain, thunder, and lightning made going downhill to leave the temple more dangerous and difficult.

Very heavy rain falling on the ground and splashing next to large plants in the Sapa Valley of Vietnam.
The sudden heavy rain, thunder, and lightning made going downhill to leave the temple more dangerous and difficult. (Image: Serban Enache via Dreamstime)

After experiencing untold hardships, it was not easy for Shen to walk down to the foot of the mountain. But he found the flat ground had been submerged in flood water several feet deep, and the surrounding rivers and valleys were overflowing with surging water.  

Shen looked around with unease and found his donkey cart and carter had been weakly drifting with the water. It wasn’t easy to even gain a firm foothold in such a situation.

It was daytime, but it was as dark as dusk. Coupled with sudden thunder and lightning, it made Shen suddenly feel afraid, and his lips instantly turned black.

Later, Shen escaped to a village to seek shelter. After a while, the sky became clear again, and the previous earth-shaking disaster disappeared. Shen, who was able to catch his breath, felt cold. After a night’s rest, he recovered the following day.

Afterward, Shen speculated that his actions probably offended the Dragon King Shrine’s “dragon,” and he almost lost his life due to his disrespectful actions.

Translated by Joseph Wu

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